PART VIII
MAINTENANCE OF WIFE, INCAPACITATED HUSBAND AND CHILDREN
[Act 7 of 2016 wef 01/07/2016]
Duty of parents to maintain children
68.  Except where an agreement or order of court otherwise provides, it shall be the duty of a parent to maintain or contribute to the maintenance of his or her children, whether they are in his or her custody or the custody of any other person, and whether they are legitimate or illegitimate, either by providing them with such accommodation, clothing, food and education as may be reasonable having regard to his or her means and station in life or by paying the cost thereof.
[30/96]
Court may order maintenance of wife, incapacitated husband and children
69.—(1)  The court may, on the application of a wife, and on due proof that her husband has neglected or refused to provide reasonable maintenance for her, order the husband to pay a monthly allowance or a lump sum for the maintenance of that wife.
[Act 7 of 2016 wef 01/07/2016]
(1A)  The court may, on the application of an incapacitated husband, and on due proof that his wife has neglected or refused to provide reasonable maintenance for him, order the wife to pay a monthly allowance or a lump sum for the maintenance of that husband.
[Act 7 of 2016 wef 01/07/2016]
(1B)  The court may make an order under subsection (1) or (1A) regardless when the marriage was solemnized, whether before, on or after the date of commencement of section 16(a) of the Women’s Charter (Amendment) Act 2016.
[Act 7 of 2016 wef 01/07/2016]
(2)  The court may, on due proof that a parent has neglected or refused to provide reasonable maintenance for his child who is unable to maintain himself, order that parent to pay a monthly allowance or a lump sum for the maintenance of that child.
[30/96]
[Act 27 of 2014 wef 01/10/2014]
(3)  An application for the maintenance of a child under subsection (2) may be made by —
(a)any person who is a guardian or has the actual custody of the child;
(b)where the child has attained the age of 21 years, by the child himself;
(c)where the child is below the age of 21 years, any of his siblings who has attained the age of 21 years; or
(d)any person appointed by the Minister.
[30/96]
(4)  The court, when ordering maintenance for a wife, an incapacitated husband or a child under this section, shall have regard to all the circumstances of the case including the following matters:
(a)the financial needs of the wife, incapacitated husband or child;
[Act 7 of 2016 wef 01/07/2016]
(b)the income, earning capacity (if any), property and other financial resources of the wife, incapacitated husband or child;
[Act 7 of 2016 wef 01/07/2016]
(c)any physical or mental disability of the wife, incapacitated husband or child;
[Act 7 of 2016 wef 01/07/2016]
(d)the age of each party to the marriage and the duration of the marriage;
(e)the contributions made by each of the parties to the marriage to the welfare of the family, including any contribution made by looking after the home or caring for the family;
(f)the standard of living enjoyed —
(i)by the wife before her husband neglected or refused to provide reasonable maintenance for her;
(ii)by the incapacitated husband before his wife neglected or refused to provide reasonable maintenance for him; or
(iii)by the child before a parent neglected or refused to provide reasonable maintenance for the child;
[Act 7 of 2016 wef 01/07/2016]
(g)in the case of a child, the manner in which he was being, and in which the parties to the marriage expected him to be, educated or trained; and
(h)the conduct of each of the parties to the marriage, if the conduct is such that it would in the opinion of the court be inequitable to disregard it.
[30/96]
[Act 7 of 2016 wef 01/07/2016]
(5)  The court shall not make an order under subsection (2) for the benefit of a child who has attained the age of 21 years or for a period that extends beyond the day on which the child will attain that age unless the court is satisfied that the provision of the maintenance is necessary because —
(a)of a mental or physical disability of the child;
(b)the child is or will be serving full-time national service;
(c)the child is or will be or (if an order were made under subsection (2)) would be receiving instruction at an educational establishment or undergoing training for a trade, profession or vocation, whether or not while in gainful employment; or
(d)special circumstances, other than those stated in paragraphs (a), (b) and (c), exist which justify the making of the order.
[30/96]
(6)  An order under subsection (2) ceases to be in force on the day on which the child attains the age of 21 years unless the order is expressed to continue in force for a period ending after that day.
[30/96]
(7)  An order under subsection (2) may direct payment to the person having custody or care and control of the child or the trustees of the child.
[30/96]
(8)  When ordering the payment of maintenance under this section or at any time after the making of the order, the court may, if it considers just, order the person liable to pay the maintenance to secure the whole or any part of it by vesting any property belonging to the person in trustees upon trust to pay the maintenance or any part of it out of the income from the property, and subject thereto, in trust for the settlor.
[30/96]
(9)  The court shall have the powers conferred by section 85 in respect of proceedings relating to maintenance under this section.
[30/96]
[Act 7 of 2016 wef 01/07/2016]
Duty to maintain child accepted as member of family
70.—(1)  Where a person has accepted a child who is not his child as a member of his family, it shall be his duty to maintain that child while he remains a child, so far as the father or the mother of the child fails to do so, and the court may make such orders as may be necessary to ensure the welfare of the child.
[26/80]
(2)  The duty imposed by subsection (1) shall cease if the child is taken away by his father or mother.
[26/80]
(3)  Any sums expended by a person maintaining that child shall be recoverable as a debt from the father or mother of the child.
[26/80]
(4)  An application for an order under subsection (1) may be made by —
(a)any person who is a guardian or has the actual custody of the child;
(b)where the child has attained the age of 21 years, the child himself;
(c)where the child is below the age of 21 years, any of his siblings who has attained the age of 21 years; or
(d)any person appointed by the Minister.
[30/96]
(5)  Subsections (4) to (9) of section 69 shall apply, with the necessary modifications, to the making of an order under this section.
[30/96]
Enforcement of maintenance order
71.—(1)  If any person fails to make one or more payments required to be made under a maintenance order, the court which made the order may do all or any of the following:
(a)for every breach of the order by warrant direct the amount due to be levied in the manner by law provided for levying fines imposed by a Magistrate’s Court;
(b)sentence the person to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one month for each month’s allowance remaining unpaid;
[2/2011 wef 01/06/2011]
[Act 7 of 2016 wef 01/07/2016]
(c)make a garnishee order in accordance with the Family Justice Rules made under section 79;
[2/2011 wef 01/06/2011]
[Act 27 of 2015 wef 01/01/2015]
[30/96]
(d)order the person to furnish security against any future default in maintenance payments by means of a bankerʼs guarantee which —
(i)shall be valid for such period (not exceeding 3 years) as the court may determine, starting from the date the order for security is made; and
(ii)shall be for an amount not exceeding 3 months of maintenance payable under the maintenance order;
[2/2011 wef 01/06/2011]
(e)if the court considers it in the interests of the parties in the maintenance proceedings or their children to do so, order the person to undergo financial counselling or such other similar or related programme as the court may direct;
[2/2011 wef 01/06/2011]
(f)make a community service order requiring the person to perform any unpaid community service for up to 40 hours under the supervision of a community service officer.
[2/2011 wef 01/06/2011]
(2)  A sentence of imprisonment ordered under subsection (1)(b) shall not affect or diminish the obligation of the person against whom the maintenance order is made to make the payment or payments under the maintenance order which that person has failed to make, except that the court may, if it thinks fit, reduce the amount of any such payments.
[30/96]
[Act 7 of 2016 wef 01/07/2016]
(2A)  The court may make an order under subsection (1)(d), (e) or (f) notwithstanding that any arrears of maintenance which gave rise to the proceedings in which the order is made have been paid up in part or in whole by the time the order is made.
[2/2011 wef 01/06/2011]
(2B)  If a person fails to make one or more payments payable under a maintenance order and an order is made by the court under subsection (1) stating the amount of arrears, any of the following persons may lodge a report to a designated credit bureau regarding the unpaid arrears stated on the order of court:
(a)the person to or for whom the maintenance is payable;
(b)the caregiver of such person; or
(c)an authorised representative of such person.
[2/2011 wef 01/06/2011]
(2C)  The designated credit bureau may, on receipt of the report referred to in subsection (2B), provide the information, either on its own or consolidated with other information pertaining to the credit payment history of the maintenance defaulter, to the members of the credit bureau.
[2/2011 wef 01/06/2011]
(2D)  In this section, “designated credit bureau” means an entity that —
(a)collects and maintains information about the credit payment history of a person and provides such information to its members for the purpose of enabling its members to assess the creditworthiness of a person; and
(b)has been designated by the Minister as a credit bureau for the purposes of receiving a report lodged under subsection (2B).
[2/2011 wef 01/06/2011]
(2E)  For the avoidance of doubt, a community service order made by the court under subsection (1)(f) shall be deemed not to be a community service order made under the Criminal Procedure Code 2010 (Act 15 of 2010) and sections 346 to 352 of that Act shall not, except as may be provided in this section, apply to a community service order made under subsection (1)(f).
[2/2011 wef 01/06/2011]
(2F)  An order made by the court under subsection (1) shall state the name, Singapore identity card number, contact number and address of the person who has defaulted on any maintenance payment and the complainant, except where the court determines it would be inappropriate to do so in any particular case.
[2/2011 wef 01/06/2011]
(3)  A maintenance order made by the General Division of the High Court may be enforced by a Family Court in accordance with subsection (1) as if that order had been made by the Family Court, except that a Family Court shall have no power to vary an order of the General Division of the High Court.
[26/80]
[Act 27 of 2014 wef 01/10/2014]
[Act 40 of 2019 wef 02/01/2021]
Bankerʼs guarantee
71A.—(1)  Where a person has been ordered by the court under section 71(1)(d) to furnish a bankerʼs guarantee, that person shall hand the original bankerʼs guarantee to the person to whom maintenance is owed (referred to in this section as a “maintenance claimant”) within one month from the date of the order.
[2/2011 wef 01/06/2011]
[Act 7 of 2016 wef 01/07/2016]
(2)  Where —
(a)a maintenance claimant makes a demand on the bankerʼs guarantee and no maintenance arrears is owing to the claimant at the time of the demand; or
(b)the amount paid out under a bankerʼs guarantee to the maintenance claimant exceeds the actual amount of maintenance arrears owing to the maintenance claimant at the time the maintenance claimantʼs demand was made on the bankerʼs guarantee,
such amount as is payable or paid that is in excess of the amount of maintenance arrears owing (referred to in this section as “the excess”) shall be set off against the amount of any maintenance which becomes payable by the maintenance defaulter to the maintenance claimant at any time on or after the date of the demand on the bankerʼs guarantee (referred to in this section as “future maintenance liability”).
[2/2011 wef 01/06/2011]
(3)  Where there is no future maintenance liability against which the excess may be offset, the maintenance claimant who made the demand on the bankerʼs guarantee giving rise to that excess shall, upon demand by the maintenance defaulter, refund the excess to the maintenance defaulter.
[2/2011 wef 01/06/2011]
(4)  Where a refund is not made as required under subsection (3), the maintenance defaulter may recover the amount due to the maintenance defaulter under that subsection from the person liable to make the refund as if the amount were a civil debt due to the maintenance defaulter.
[2/2011 wef 01/06/2011]
[Act 7 of 2016 wef 01/07/2016]
Financial counselling
71B.  Where a court has made an order under section 71(1)(e) requiring a maintenance defaulter to attend financial counselling or any other related programme but the maintenance defaulter fails to comply with the order, any of the following persons may make a complaint to the court regarding such non-compliance:
(a)the person who is to have provided the financial counselling or conducted such related programme ordered by the court;
(b)the Director‑General, where the court has ordered a maintenance defaulter to attend financial counselling or such related programme under the direction or supervision of the Director‑General.
[2/2011 wef 01/06/2011]
[Act 30 of 2019 wef 01/07/2020]
Community service orders
71C.—(1)  A court shall not make a community service order under section 71(1)(f) against a maintenance defaulter unless the court is satisfied that suitable arrangements can be made for the maintenance defaulter to perform community service under such an order.
[2/2011 wef 01/06/2011]
[Act 7 of 2016 wef 01/07/2016]
(2)  Notwithstanding that a community service order has been made under subsection (1), the court may, upon an application by a community service officer and upon being satisfied that the maintenance defaulter concerned is medically unfit to comply with the community service order, rescind the order.
[2/2011 wef 01/06/2011]
(3)  The Minister may —
(a)appoint any person to be a community service officer for the purposes of this section;
(b)prescribe the duration within which community service to be performed under a community service order shall be completed; and
(c)make rules under section 180, not inconsistent with the provisions of this Part, to make further provisions for the manner in which a community service order may be performed, including the imposition of additional requirements and the service of any instructions or notice on a maintenance defaulter in respect of whom such an order has been made.
[2/2011 wef 01/06/2011]
[Act 27 of 2014 wef 01/10/2014]
Rescission and variation of order
72.—(1)  On the application of any person receiving or ordered to pay a monthly allowance under this Part and on proof of a change in the circumstances of that person, or that person’s wife, incapacitated husband or child, or for other good cause being shown to the satisfaction of the court, the court by which the order was made may rescind the order or may vary it as it thinks fit.
[Act 7 of 2016 wef 01/07/2016]
(2)  Without prejudice to the extent of the discretion conferred upon the court by subsection (1), the court may, in considering any application made under this section, take into consideration any change in the general cost of living which may have occurred between the date of the making of the order sought to be varied and the date of the hearing of the application.
Power of court to vary agreement for maintenance of child
73.  The court may, at any time and from time to time, vary the terms of any agreement relating to the maintenance of a child, whether made before or after 1st June 1981, notwithstanding any provision to the contrary in that agreement, where it is satisfied that it is reasonable and for the welfare of the child to do so.
[30/96]
Application of section 121
74.  Section 121 shall apply, with the necessary modifications, to any order for the payment of maintenance under this Part.
[30/96]
Application of Act to orders made under repealed Minor Offences Ordinance, etc.
75.—(1)  All orders made under section 37 of the repealed Minor Offences Ordinance (Cap. 24, 1936 Ed.) or under section 2 of the repealed Married Women and Children (Maintenance) Ordinance (Cap. 44, 1955 Ed.) and in force on 15th September 1961 shall be deemed to have been made under this Part by a court, and the provisions of this Part shall apply to the same accordingly.
[Act 27 of 2014 wef 01/10/2014]
(2)  Upon an application to vary any order made under section 37 of the repealed Minor Offences Ordinance (Cap. 24, 1936 Ed.) or under section 2 of the repealed Married Women and Children (Maintenance) Ordinance (Cap. 44, 1955 Ed.), the court may make under section 72 any order which it could have made upon an application under section 69 or under section 2 of the repealed Married Women and Children (Maintenance) Ordinance.
Power of Family Court to refuse order where proceedings more convenient in General Division of High Court
76.—(1)  If in the opinion of the Family Court the matters in question between the parties or any of them would be more conveniently dealt with by the General Division of the High Court, the Family Court may refuse to make an order and in that case there shall be no appeal from its decision.
[Act 27 of 2014 wef 01/10/2014]
[Act 40 of 2019 wef 02/01/2021]
(2)  The General Division of the High Court shall have power, by order in any proceedings in the General Division of the High Court relating to or comprising the same subject-matter as the application refused or any part thereof under subsection (1), to direct the Family Court to rehear or determine the same.
[Act 27 of 2014 wef 01/10/2014]
[Act 40 of 2019 wef 02/01/2021]
Appeal
77.—(1)  Subject to the provisions of this Part and Part VII, an appeal shall lie from any order or the refusal of any order by a Family Court under this Part and Part VII to the Family Division of the High Court exercising appellate civil jurisdiction under section 23 of the Family Justice Act 2014.
[Act 27 of 2014 wef 01/10/2014]
(2)  All appeals brought under this section shall be by way of rehearing and the General Division of the High Court shall have the like powers and jurisdiction on the hearing of such appeals as the Appellate Division of the High Court has on the hearing of appeals from the General Division of the High Court under the Supreme Court of Judicature Act.
[26/80]
[Act 40 of 2019 wef 02/01/2021]
(3)  No appeal made under the provisions of this Part and Part VII from any order shall operate as a stay of such order unless the General Division of the High Court or the Family Court so directs.
[26/80; 30/96]
[Act 27 of 2014 wef 01/10/2014]
[Act 40 of 2019 wef 02/01/2021]
78.  [Repealed by Act 27 of 2014 wef 01/10/2014]
Procedure
79.—(1)  The Family Justice Rules Committee constituted under section 46(1) of the Family Justice Act 2014 (Act 27 of 2014) may make Family Justice Rules regulating and prescribing the procedure and practice to be followed for the purposes of this Part and Part VII and any matters incidental to or relating to any such procedure or practice.
(2)  Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1), Family Justice Rules may be made for the following purposes:
(a)prescribing the procedure for applications to the Family Court under this Part and Part VII, including the manner in which any such application is to be made and dealt with, and the provisions of any written law that will apply to any such application;
(b)giving effect to sections 65 and 66 and, in particular, providing for the hearing without delay of any application for an order under section 65(5)(a);
(c)prescribing how any document may be served on any person;
(d)prescribing the procedure applicable to appeals from the Family Court brought under section 77;
(e)prescribing the fees payable in relation to proceedings under this Part and Part VII.
(3)  The Family Justice Rules may, instead of providing for any matter under this Part or Part VII, refer to any provision made or to be made about the matter by practice directions issued for the time being by the registrar of the Family Justice Courts.
(4)  Unless the Family Justice Rules provide otherwise, an application to a Family Court under this Part or Part VII (called in this subsection the relevant application) —
(a)must be made in the same manner as an application for a summons is made to a District Court or Magistrate’s Court under the Criminal Procedure Code (Cap. 68); and
(b)is to be dealt with —
(i)as if the relevant application was a complaint for the purposes of that Code; but
(ii)in accordance with only such provisions of that Code, and with such provisions of any other written law, as may be prescribed by the Family Justice Rules.
(5)  A court before which any application under this Part or Part VII is heard may make such order as to costs as it thinks fit.
(6)  All Family Justice Rules referred to in this section are to be presented to Parliament as soon as possible after publication in the Gazette.
[Act 7 of 2016 wef 01/07/2016]
79A.  [Repealed by Act 7 of 2016 wef 01/07/2016]